There's something so genuine and heartwarming in sharing a laugh with a little boy or girl. People of all ages love to share their happiness. Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you. That is the power of Comic Relief and its inspiring Red Nose Day fundraising campaign. People throughout the UK will be making fun of themselves on Friday - me, too - to support extraordinary causes.
In Ivory Coast, word of mouth is still the major form of communication for mums-to-be. Many issues are similar to the UK: interference from the mother-in-law seems to be universal and women tend to gossip and share horror stories. Like disease, rumours can spread fast and seem unstoppable. In Ivory Coast, their destructive path is paved by traders, women who visit villages on market day and set up stalls to buy, sell and gossip. Ivory Coast is a volatile country, having recently emerged from civil war.
Vaccines are also highly cost-effective compared to the cost of medical treatment and the loss of potential and productivity through death and ill-health. For scarcely more than the price of a large cup of coffee, for example, a child can be vaccinated against five major childhood killers including diphtheria and tetanus.
Two days of incubation in a child's body is enough for the virus to do its work. If they are unable to fight it they will end up so severely dehydrated they will have to go to hospital, they could end up on a drip, of several weeks, at which point the child's brain and development will have been so severely affected, and in some cases unfortunate enough to lose their life.
The pragmatic view based on solid analysis is that aid supports countries through tough times, helps them build up systems and expertise, and as soon as possible puts itself out of business. In fact, if there's one thing that both the sceptics and those that support evidence-based spending on aid can agree on, it is that a world without aid is the ultimate goal.